A/N: Just a little something I put together to cheer myself up. I promised chapter 18 of Someone Like You is coming really soon.
Disclaimer: Castle is not mine.
Her phone chimed on her nightstand and Kate jumped, startled.
It was a Saturday afternoon and, miraculously, she had the entire weekend off. Not even on call. Two whole days without having to set foot at the 12th. She had never thought there would come a day that she would say something like that, but she was so glad to just be able to laze around for an entire weekend. After the incident, as she referred to the shooting in her mind, she had been feeling more tired and at the same time more willing to see and experience something other than just catching killers every day. She was sure it was the whole near death experience thing that made her want to treasure whatever time she still had left on this planet.
And in some twisted way, that was kind of a depressing thought because she sincerely hoped she still had a lot of time. There was still so much she wanted to do. So much she wanted to experience. And even though she hoped she still had a quite a few years ahead of her, her too close encounter with death had her in a carpe diem mentality. Lazing around at home in a not too chilly spring afternoon was at the top of her list right now. And that had just been interrupted by her phone, so whoever it was, they just better make it pretty damn important, she thought with a yawn as she reached for her phone.
Castle's name was showing on her screen, indicating a new text message. She bit her lip, trying to prevent a smile. Even when they had agreed to just do their own thing during the weekend (he desperately needed to get a move on and finish his new book), he just couldn't not bug her. If he had called, she would have told him off teasingly, but with a text message she didn't have to hide the smile blossoming on her lips and lighting up her eyes. It had been less than twenty-four hours since she had last seen him and she missed him already. How she had spent the entire summer without him was completely beyond her comprehension now as that giddy feeling took over her.
And they weren't even together.
Kate closed her eyes and shook her head, trying to dismiss the thought. She could not deal with this right now, however much those butterflies in her stomach made her want to just throw caution to the wind and take a chance with him already. There was no Josh, there was no Gina. There was nothing stopping them from doing this, except her own stubbornness. She knew how he felt about her and, God help her, those feelings were exceedingly mutual. She wanted this, she wanted him, but she was still too afraid, too stubborn, too terrified that he would leave her or that something might happen to her and she would leave him. She didn't want to risk it. Having his friendship was a reliable, solid alternative and she was going to stick with that for as long as she could.
But, man, it was just so hard to keep a strong façade, to resist him when she was around him practically twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Their friends kept taunting them and she knew the pool going on at the precinct had some pretty high bets riding on them getting together some time soon. She couldn't blame them. They acted like they were an old married couple already. Jesus, she didn't even want to think about that yet. She couldn't. Because thoughts like that led her nowhere.
With a sigh, she opened his message and chuckled at his words.
I'm bored. Are you bored?
She should have known he just wouldn't be able to sit down and do his job for more than a few hours. Quickly composing a reply, she pressed the send button.
A little. Just lazing around.
She sent it and lay back down on her bed, closing her eyes. It was such a rare occurrence, her taking a nap or just staying in bed all afternoon. She stretched her body and turned on her stomach, hugging her pillow. She loved this feeling of having nothing to do after such a grueling and gruesome week. Burrowing her face deeper into her pillow, she merely stretched her arm without opening her eyes and grabbed her phone when it chimed again.
Want to be bored together? :)
She smiled at his ridiculous smiley face. She totally knew this was coming and she admitted (only to herself, mind you) that she really wanted to see him too. What could she say; she was too used to having him around all the time. It felt weird when she didn't see him every day. Pressing the green button on her phone, she decided to call him back instead of texting. She kind of missed his voice too.
He picked up after only one ring.
"Hi." His voice was warm and she involuntarily smiled, closing her eyes, and hugged pillow closer.
"Hi." She said softly and she knew that to anyone who didn't know them, they probably sounded like a smitten couple. Which they kind of were if you thought about it. Sort of. Just… not officially. Not yet. Whatever. "So what did you have in mind?" she asked, a yawn escaping without her consent.
"You sound sleepy." He commented and she laughed quietly.
"Not really. Just lazy."
"So, yeah. I didn't have anything in mind. It's just… it's a beautiful day outside and I don't feel like being cooped up in here?" he explained, but it ended up sounding like a question.
"Where do you want to go?" she asked, stretching her body again. Jesus, she felt so lazy today.
"I don't know. Just take a walk maybe? No destination in mind?" he suggested and she found herself nodding, even though he wasn't there and she knew he couldn't see it.
"Sounds like a plan, Mr. Castle. Where should I meet you?" she sat up and threw her legs over to the side of her bed.
"I'll come pick you up. Think you'll be ready to go in twenty?" She could hear him moving around and wondered what he was doing.
"I'll see you in twenty." She agreed, standing up, trying to decide if she had time for a quick shower.
"See you then." He said and she was about to hang up when his voice caught her attention again. "Oh, and Kate?"
" I miss you." He confessed quietly and she felt those butterflies tap dance on the pit of her stomach. She was quiet for a beat and could almost feel him holding his breath, waiting for her answer.
"Miss you too, Castle." She closed her eyes, not sure what this confession might do to them. "I'll see you soon." She said and hung up before anything else spilled out of her lips, like the fact that she was fighting tooth and nail against her very strong feelings for him and it was getting harder and harder every day.
Sighing, she stepped into the bathroom and took a really quick shower. After drying herself off, she put on some jeans and a purple plaid button down shirt, before applying a very light layer of makeup. Looking at her reflection in the mirror, she deemed herself suitably dressed for an afternoon out with her partner. Just as she was shrugging on her jacket, she heard a knock on the door.
Making her way to the living room, she opened the door and smiled at him in greeting, leaving the door open for him to enter the apartment.
"I just need to get my purse and phone and we can go." She told him over her shoulder and headed back to her room. After finding the intended items, she quickly scanned the room for something she might have been forgetting. Her gun and badge were safely tucked away in her nightstand drawer. She decided to forgo them today as she wasn't on duty. "Okay, let's go." She smiled at him and let him lead her to the door, hand on the small of her back.
"Any destination in mind?" he asked quietly, his lips almost brushing her ear as she locked the door. She had a hard time not dropping the keys at his proximity.
"I thought the plan was to have no destination." She replied, turning around to look at him, finding him still too close. He tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and she lifted an eyebrow at him, but didn't shy away from his touch.
"Alright. No destination it is." He smiled at her, that boyish grin she loved so much and she found herself looping her arm through his as they walked to the elevator.
Once out on the street, they picked a direction and just started walking. She thought back to four years before, when she had first met him, and marveled at how comfortable she was with him now as opposed to back then. He was the only person in this world that knew practically everything about her, probably knew her better than she did herself, and she just felt so… at home with him. It was a strange feeling, difficult to describe. All she knew was that she had never felt like this with anyone before.
They walked a few blocks talking quietly, sometimes pointing out something on display. Their hands brushed on occasion and Kate felt that tingling sensation run up her arm whenever it happened. Castle loved to make up stories (big surprise there, she thought to herself, amused) about people they passed by and she found herself laughing more with him than she had in a while. They were nearing the Hudson River Park when he suggested they should maybe get a cup of coffee and something to eat. She agreed and they entered a nice little French café.
Eating in a comfortable silence, they just savored each other's company, playing footsie childishly under the table with hidden smiles. Kate wasn't entirely sure what was happening, but she decided that, for once, she would go with the flow. She was ready. Or more like she was tired of fighting this, of being so stubborn. She wanted to give them a chance, she wanted him by her side as more than just her partner and best friend.
He paid for their meal and they walked out of the establishment, coffee cups still in hand. It was starting to get a little colder as the sun hurried to meet the horizon and Kate felt herself shivering slightly at the temperature drop. They made their way to the park and chose a bench overlooking the river. The sky was an explosion of colors in red, pink and orange as the sun drifted lower towards the west. Sitting down at their chosen spot, they relaxed and watched the sunset before them.
Involuntarily (or not), Kate leaned into him after taking one last sip of her coffee and throwing the cup away. She felt him stiffen for half a second, but when she chanced a glance at him, a small, pleased smile was playing on her lips. Satisfied with herself, she relaxed into him further and leaned her head on his shoulder. After a minute (and she was surprised he managed to hold out that long), she felt his arm's weight on her shoulders, its warmth doing wonders to her body. He let his fingers gently run up and down her arm and she sighed contently.
They stayed like that for a few minutes. She felt him press his lips to her hair a couple of times and was warmed by his actions. She wanted this. There were no more questions about it. She wanted it, she was ready. Reaching up, she stilled his fingers on her arm, only to lace hers through his, hoping this could convey the right message. She didn't think she would be able to come right out and say it, but she hoped this would be enough. Hell, he could read her like an open book; there was no way he would miss her signs. Right?
When his fingers squeezed hers gently and she felt his lips on her hair again, she knew her message had been received loud and clear. The sun was fading and she pulled away just enough to be able to look at him. The emotions shining in his eyes were almost overwhelming and right then she knew this was it; this was finally the right moment for them. Taking a deep, fortifying breath, she leaned in slowly, part of her still hesitating. He didn't let her overthink this, though, as he closed the distance between them and suddenly their lips were touching in the most gentle, tender and intense kiss she had ever experienced.
Her hand left his to touch his cheek, and then travel up to his hair, tangling in the soft strands of it, pulling him closer. After a couple of minutes (or hours, years, an eternity – she wasn't entirely sure), he pulled away, framing her face with his hands, his thumb caressing her cheeks in almost disbelief this was actually happening.
"You sure?" His voice was so quiet; she felt his word more than she heard them.
Closing her eyes, she nodded and rested her forehead on his. The sun had set, the night had taken over the city, but none of it mattered. All that mattered was that they were finally here and this was right and perfect and she wished she could freeze time.
"Yeah." She whispered back, touching her lips to his one more time.